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The two best teams meet in the Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 21, 2013 09:30 AM

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Baseball players like to say that the best team doesn't always win the World Series. It's the team that is playing the best.

In this World Series, however, the best team will win. Consider:

The Red Sox and Cardinals were 97-65 in the regular season, tied for the best record in baseball.

The Red Sox lead the majors with a run differential of +197. The Cardinals were second at +187.

The Red Sox are 7-3 in the postseason, the Cardinals 7-4.

There are no flukes in this Fall Classic. The Sox are 104-68 this year and the Cardinals 104-69. The team that wins this Series will indeed be the best team.

A few other tidbits:

Saturday's crowd of 38,823 was the largest at Fenway Park since 39,067 caught a Division Series game against the Angels on Oct. 5, 2008.

Koji Uehara has appeared in eight games in the postseason. His line: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K. He has thrown 115 pitches, 91 strikes. Uehara has appeared in 81 games and thrown 83.1 innings this season. What an incredible bargain he proved to be.

The Sox are 24 of 100 with runners in scoring position in the postseason, 13 of their last 72 (.181). So much for that statistic being telling.

Jacoby Ellsbury is 16 of 40 (.400) in the postseason with 10 runs scored, five RBIs and six steals. That will make a nice few pages in the Boras Co. free-agent portfolio.

His success for the Red Sox now is going to make it tougher for the Red Sox to retain him. Some team out there (Seattle?) is going all-in on Ellsbury now.

Franklin Morales has faced nine batters in the postseason and put five of them on base. He has thrown 19 of 34 pitches for strikes. Matt Thornton hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 29 but he has been throwing in the bullpen to stay sharp. Could the Sox make a roster change?

Red Sox pitchers have a 3.05 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in the postseason. The Cardinals have a 2.34 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Does that mean a low-scoring series.

John Farrell's fealty to Stephen Drew is about to be tested. Drew is 3 for 35 in the postseason with one hit in his last 28 at-bats. He also is 2 for 19 in his carer against Cardinals Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright. If Drew starts Game 1, he's bulletproof.

The guess here is he does start. Farrell values Drew's defense and any offense at this point is gravy. Xander Bogaerts has started six MLB games at shortstop in his career. The rookie looks just fine at third base, so why mess with that?

David Ortiz is 1 for 15 since that grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Steve Horgan, the now-famous Fenway bullpen cop, was doing crowd control on the field after Game 6 on Saturday. People were asking him to pose for photographs every few minutes.

The Sox and Cardinals did not meet in the regular season. But the Sox were 14-6 in interleague play with a +64 run differential. The Cardinals were 10-10 in interleague games with a +25 run differential. Is that significant? Seems so.

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